THINK: Beautiful Plus Sizes!
GINGER HOLLEY, COSTUME DESIGNER
"My favorite thing about using Fabulous Fit is that no matter what size you are, you can get a true precision fit with the system. I am a huge Marvel comics fan, and when I saw the recent appearance of Black Panther in Captain America 3: Civil War, I knew I had to put my precision skills to the test." Check below.
Ginger is a costume designer for a web series called Star Trek Continues. As soon as they wrap up the next few episodes on the new production series, she is starting her own line. YAY! We are watching and here for you with everything assistance in starting and merchandising a collection!
Your work is spectacular! Congratulations on your success!
PICTURES MOVED HERE
As a plus size girl, I struggle with finding formal dresses that won't show my bra straps. The flip side of that coin is that I also struggle with finding supportive 'decorative' or convertible bras. As a result, my bra straps have been peeking out from under my spaghetti straps for years at weddings, nice dinners, the theater - so I decided enough was enough!
This gorgeous maxi dress is a breeze with the Fabulous Fit system. First, I placed the bra I wanted to wear with my formal gown onto the base dressform. For this design I used a standard balconet bra from Torrid and a cheap adjustable dressform torso from Joannes. Next, I filled the bra with Fit pads so that it would hold its shape, then placed the Fit cover over top. After this, I padded out the torso as usual to my measurements.
While drafting this dress, I used a nice thick stretch pleather to block out the edges of where the bra lay underneath. I basically traced the bra with my pleather strips. Once I was happy with the coverage, I began drafting the silk sections. It is important to note that the 'cup' pieces of the silk fabric MUST be cut on the bias to appropriately stretch. For my silk I chose a gorgeous lightweight silk georgette print, also from Joannes. I made it a point to V the waistband up under the center chest, to give a tighter and more flattering silhouette.
While drafting the skirt, I made sure to keep it a little loose around the Fit form system. This is an 8 gore flare skirt simulating a maxi cut. I had to do it that way because of fabric shortages, but I was still able to achieve the billow I wanted. This skirt also has side-seam in seam pockets, because women are people too and we have needs. Needs!
When it came time to attach everything together, I serged the silk pieces separately, then connected them to the stretch pieces using a Janome Cover Pro coverstitch machine. While attaching the skirt to the waistband, I let the waistband act as a gathering elastic so that the dress did not need a zipper closure. For the final step, I top stitched the stretch pieces and hemmed the bottom of the skirt - but not too much.
This dress came out exactly as I wanted; it simulates a plunge neckline, tricks the eye into accepting an empire waist even on someone who is not very small in the midsection, and most importantly it will not show a single bra strap.
Now if I only had somewhere nice enough to wear it!
I chose three types of thick stretch pleather; One matte, one dark silver, and one black metallic, for a subtle addition of depth, and one rubberized embossed. I then also chose a novelty black and silver lightweight knit for the skirt section. Before I started in on the particulars of the pattern, I drafted a very simple princess seamed body con dress that stopped at the knee using my Fit system. Then, once the front, side front, side back, and back of the princess seam dress were on paper, went back to the fit system to mark out something that was reminiscent of the extremely complex design of the Black Panther costume. While the real costume numbers in the hundreds of pieces, I managed to keep my dress down to a mere 50!
Feeling very accomplished with my blocking, I then traced off the shapes I had outlined on my Fit system to the previously patterned princess seam dress. Once that was done, I labeled each piece with which section it belonged to and what texture fabric it would be. Then I cut the pieces apart and added seam allowance to all of them.
Once everything was cut out, I began to put them together. I used ONLY my Janome Cover Pro cover stitch machine for this entire project, alternating from a single to a double needle stitch: Single to connect the pieces, and double to topstitch down each seam, pinning every seam allowance flat. The most important thing about the construction of this dress is the order in which the pieces must be attached. I was very careful to never attach a piece into another piece before top stitching if there was no way to go back and do it after. This is an intuitive part of the process and just takes visual awareness as you go through the pieces, and is not something I personally find worth planning out ahead of time.
To add a third dimension in the stitches, I also placed double rows of top stitching at a half inch away from several seam lines to mimic the addition of yes, even more pieces. Once all of that was done, I turned and stitched the neck and armholes down, added a single piece circle skirt to the bottom of the princess seam dress, and hemmed. I mimicked Black Panther's necklace with some spike trim, which I attached to the pleather with contact cement for a more secure hold.
The reason the final photo looks like 2 dresses is because technically, it is! A little bit of elastic in the circle skirt seam line, and voila - the dramatic mermaid evening gown becomes a cute skater dress with a black waistband! Not only does converting from the skater to the mermaid go great from day to night transitions, but converting from the mermaid to the skater goes from rather hot to much, much cooler in the span of just a few seconds without having to go hide in the bathroom and strip!
I am obsessed with the exact precision of the fit of this dress. It makes me feel super sexy and proud of my curves, and I love that I can go from wining and dining straight to fighting with the avengers just by hikin' up my skirt! :D